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Notice

Proposed Collection; Comment Request

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Upon written request, copies available from: Securities and Exchange Commission, Office of Filings and Information Services, Washington, DC 20549.

Extension: Rule 10f-3, SEC File No. 270-237, OMB Control No. 3235-0226.

Notice is hereby given that, pursuant to the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (44 U.S.C. 3501-3520), the Securities and Exchange Commission (“Commission”) is soliciting comments on the collections of information discussed below. The Commission plans to submit these existing collections of information to the Office of Management and Budget (“OMB”) for extension and approval.

Section 10(f) of the Investment Company Act of 1940 (the “Act”) prohibits a registered investment company (“fund”) from purchasing any security during an underwriting or selling syndicate if the fund has certain relationships with a principal underwriter for the security. Congress enacted this provision in 1940 to protect funds and their shareholders by preventing underwriters from “dumping” unmarketable securities on affiliated funds.

Rule 10f-3 permits a fund to engage in a securities transaction that otherwise would violate section 10(f) if, among other things, (i) each transaction effected under the rule is reported on Form N-SAR; (ii) the fund's directors have approved procedures for purchases made in reliance on the rule, regularly review fund purchases to determine whether they comply with these procedures, and approve necessary changes to the procedures; and (iii) a written record of each transaction effected under the rule is maintained for six years, the first two of which in an easily accessible place. The written record must state (i) from whom the securities were acquired, (ii) the identity of the underwriting syndicate's members, (iii) the terms of the transactions, and (iv) the information or materials on which the fund's board of directors has determined that the purchases were made in compliance with procedures established by the board.

The rule also conditionally allows managed portions of fund portfolios to purchase securities offered in otherwise off-limits primary offerings. To qualify for this exemption, rule 10f-3 requires that the subadviser that is advising the purchaser be contractually prohibited from providing investment advice to any other portion of the fund's portfolio and consulting with any other of the fund's advisers that is a principal underwriter or affiliated person of a principal underwriter concerning the fund's securities transactions.

These requirements provide a mechanism for fund boards to oversee compliance with the rule. The required recordkeeping facilitates the Commission staff's review of rule 10f-3 transactions during routine fund inspections and, when necessary, in connection with enforcement actions.

The staff estimates that approximately 200 funds engage in a total of approximately 1,000 rule 10f-3 transactions each year.[1] Rule 10f-3 requires that the purchasing fund create a written record of each transaction that includes, among other things, from whom the securities were purchased and the terms of the transaction. The staff estimates [2] that it takes an average fund approximately 30 minutes per transaction and approximately 500 hours [3] in the aggregate to comply with this portion of the rule.

The funds also must maintain and preserve these transactional records in accordance with the rule's recordkeeping requirement, and the staff estimates that it takes a fund approximately 20 minutes per transaction and that annually, in the aggregate, funds spend approximately 333 hours [4] to comply with this portion of the rule.

In addition, fund boards must, no less than quarterly, examine each of these transactions to ensure that they comply with the fund's policies and procedures. The information or materials upon which the board relied to come to this determination also must be maintained and the staff estimates that it takes a fund 1 hour per quarter and, in the aggregate, approximately 800 hours [5] annually to comply with this rule requirement.

The staff estimates that approximately half of the boards of funds that engage in rule 10f-3 transactions that deem it necessary to revise the fund's written policies and procedures for rule 10f-3 and that complying with this requirement takes each of these funds on average, 25 hours of a compliance attorney's time and, in the aggregate, approximately 2,500 hours [6] annually.

The Commission staff estimates that 3,028 portfolios of approximately 2,126 investment companies use the services of one or more subadvisers. Based on discussions with industry representatives, the staff estimates that it will require approximately 6 hours to draft and execute revised subadvisory contracts (5 staff attorney hours, 1 supervisory attorney hour), in order for funds and subadvisers to be able to rely on the exemption in rule 10f-3. The staff assumes that all of these funds amended their advisory contracts when rule 10f-3 was amended in 2002 by Start Printed Page 16312conditioning certain exemptions upon such contractual alterations.[7]

Based on an analysis of investment company filings, the staff estimates that approximately 200 new funds register annually. Assuming that the number of these funds that will use the services of subadvisers is proportionate to the number of funds that currently use the services of subadvisers, approximately 46 new funds will enter into subadvisory agreements each year.[8] The Commission staff estimates, based on an analysis of investment company filings, that an additional 10 funds, currently in existence, will employ the services of subadvisers for the first time each year. Thus, the staff estimates that a total of 56 funds, with a total of 78 portfolios,[9] will enter into subadvisory agreements each year. Assuming that each of these funds enters into a contract that permits it to rely on the exemption in rule 10f-3, we estimate that the rule's contract modification requirement will result in 117 burden hours annually.[10]

The staff estimates, therefore, that rule 10f-3 imposes an information collection burden of 4,250 hours.[11] This estimate does not include the time spent filing transaction reports on Form N-SAR, which is encompassed in the information collection burden estimate for that form.

Written comments are invited on: (a) Whether the collections of information are necessary for the proper performance of the functions of the Commission, including whether the information has practical utility; (b) the accuracy of the Commission's estimate of the burdens of the collections of information; (c) ways to enhance the quality, utility, and clarity of the information collected; and (d) ways to minimize the burdens of the collections of information on respondents, including through the use of automated collection techniques or other forms of information technology. Consideration will be given to comments and suggestions submitted in writing within 60 days of this publication.

Please direct your written comments to R. Corey Booth, Director/Chief Information Officer, Office of Information Technology, Securities and Exchange Commission, 450 5th Street, NW., Washington, DC 20549.

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Dated: March 23, 2005.

Margaret H. McFarland,

Deputy Secretary.

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Footnotes

1.  These estimates are based on staff extrapolations from earlier data.

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2.  Unless stated otherwise, the information collection burden estimates contained in this Supporting Statement are based on conversations between the staff and representatives of funds.

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3.  This estimate is based on the following calculation: (30 minutes × 1,000 = 500 hours).

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4.  This estimate is based on the following calculations: (20 minutes × 1,000 transactions = 20,000 minutes; 20,000 minutes / 60 = 333 hours).

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5.  This estimate is based on the following calculation: (1 hour per quarter × 4 quarters × 200 funds = 800 hours).

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6.  This estimate is based on the following calculation: (100 funds × 25 hours = 2,500 hours).

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7.  Rules 12d3-1, 10f-3, 17a-10, and 17e-1 require virtually identical modifications to fund advisory contracts. The Commission staff assumes that funds would rely equally on the exemptions in these rules, and therefore the burden hours associated with the required contract modifications should be apportioned equally among the four rules.

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8.  Approximately 23 percent of funds are advised by subadvisers.

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9.  Based on existing statistics, we assume that each fund has 1.4 portfolios advised by a subadviser.

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10.  This estimate is based on the following calculations: (78 portfolios × 6 hours = 468 burden hours for rules 12d3-1, 10f-3, 17a-10, and 17e-1; 468 total burden hours for all of the rules / four rules = 117 annual burden hours per rule).

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11.  This estimate is based on the following calculations: (500 hours + 333 hours + 800 hours + 2,500 hours + 117 hours = 4,250 total burden hours).

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[FR Doc. E5-1396 Filed 3-29-05; 8:45 am]

BILLING CODE 8010-01-P